Shares fall from record levels on heavy volume

Stocks retreated from records levels Tuesday, propelled by drops in Israel Chemicals and some of the banks.

News agencies SHARES TEL AVIV Stocks retreated from records levels Tuesday, propelled by drops in Israel Chemicals and some of the banks. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries was a standout, moving up and down after reporting better-than-expected earnings. The stock was up as much as 3.2 percent, then dropped to a loss of more than 2% before finishing up 0.14% at NIS 142.1. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's benchmark TA-25 index eased 0.14% to 911.81, and the TA-100 traded down 0.27% at 923.51. Both indexes set records on Monday. The Tel-Tech 15 index slipped 0.88% to 376.81. The Tel-Tech's highest-ever reading was 482.78, set on January 20, 2004. Teva was the most-active issue Tuesday, accounting for more than a sixth of the total TASE volume of $433 million. That in turn is 31% above the average daily TASE volume for January through October of $331m. Teva posted third-quarter net income that more than doubled on 74% growth in sales, and the world's largest maker of generic drugs said it would buy back as much as $600m. of its shares and convertible debentures. A busy and notable loser was Israel Chemicals, trading off 1.4% at NIS 25.03. UBS analyst Joseph Wolf downgraded ICL to "neutral" from "buy" while raising his price target to NIS 26 from NIS 24. While "we are aware of the positive momentum in both the potash and bromine businesses and stocks, and we still see some upside... The stock has moved a little too far a little too fast," Wolf wrote in a research note. Within the TA-25, shares of Partner Communications added 0.7% to NIS 48.69. The Israel affiliate of the Orange cellular network saw its price target raised to NIS 52 from NIS 45.5 at Clal Finance Batucha, which rates the stock "outperform." The Tel-Tech took a hit as a result of weakness in AudioCodes, whose shares fell 9.3% to NIS 40.57. The telecom-equipment producer reported third-quarter net income of 2 cents a share against 8 cents in the year-earlier period. Adjusted profit was 8 cents against 8 cents and revenue rose 35% to $40.1m. Also on the move, Elbit Systems fell 1.2% to NIS 132. The defense contractor was cut to "neutral" from "buy" at Israel Brokerage & Investments based on valuation, as the company's US-listed shares reached the broker's target price of $32. Tadiran Communications slipped 1.5% to NIS 155.9. The producer of military-communications equipment reported that third-quarter net income fell 13% as revenue declined 15%. The order book at September 30 totaled $322m. Leader & Co. reiterated an "outperform" rating on Tadiran with a NIS 161 price target. Off the Tel-Tech index, Tower Semiconductor Ltd. lost 3.1% to NIS 7.83. The independent chip foundry swung to third-quarter net income from a net loss as a result of a special gain on a refinancing, as sales more than doubled to $51.5m. The company also narrowed its operating loss to $28.2m. from $45.5m. The Tel Aviv Real Estate index fell 1.1% to 666.96. The most active issue in the index was Africa Israel Investments, shares of which eased 0.2% to NIS 291.2. The real estate developer was reiterated as a "buy" at UBS, which cited the company's increase in its stake in a Russian joint venture to 88% from 80% and its plan to expand the operation and take it public. Electra Real Estate was down 2.5% at NIS 68.06, shrugging off the company's report that third-quarter earnings more than doubled. Gazit Globe dropped 2% to NIS 54.19. The dollar strengthened 0.49% to NIS 4.331. WALL STREET US stocks rallied for a second session as gains in Boeing Co. shares on the back of an aircraft order helped lift the Dow Jones Industrial Average to fresh highs, with investors also mulling what impact midterm elections would have on the market. The Dow industrials rose as much as 91 points to 12,196.32, beating its previous record high of 12,167.02 but pulled back and was up just 56 points, or 0.5%, at 12,161.90 in afternoon trade. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 11 points at 2,377 and the S&P 500 Index was up 7 points at 1,387. EUROPE Shares of UK retailer Marks & Spencer hit a record high, offsetting weakness in the media sector after Vivendi results and boosting broader European indexes. The French CAC-40 index closed up 0.66% at 5,437.78 as shares of Air France-KLM gained 2.9% after it said it carried 5.9% more passengers in October. The German DAX Xetra 30 index rose 0.49% to 6,361.96 and the pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 index increased 0.39% at 359.66. The UK's FTSE 100 index rose 0.31% to 6,244.00 as Marks & Spencer shares advanced strongly, touching an all-time high of 705.5 pence earlier in the session, before closing up 6.3% at 698 pence. ASIA Asian stocks ended higher, with indexes in Australia, Indonesia and Hong Kong marking new intraday highs, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Average advanced on gains in Sony Corp. and Honda Motor after a strong performance in US markets. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 set a fresh intraday record before easing slightly to close 0.9% higher at 5,491.60. Indonesia's JSX Composite also touched a record peak before scaling back to end 0.8% higher at 1,886.31. The Nikkei 225 Index ended 0.2% higher at 16,393.41. The Tokyo Stock Price Index, or Topix, ended little changed at 1,616.68. CURRENCY The dollar fell to a six-week low against the euro and declined against the yen as well, as investors nervously awaited US election results. In New York trading, the dollar was quoted at 117.42 yen, compared with 118.28 yen late Monday. The euro changed hands at $1.2805, compared with $1.2720. It had earlier risen to $1.2819, the highest level since September 25. COMMODITIES Crude-oil futures fell under $60 a barrel, retreating a day ahead of US data that is expected to show that crude supplies rose last week but that petroleum-products inventories fell. In afternoon action on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for December delivery was down 22 cents at $59.80 a barrel. Gold futures held onto gains Tuesday afternoon, trading above the $630-an-ounce level as the dollar fell. Gold for December delivery was up $2.40 at $630.30 an ounce in afternoon trade on the NYMEX. (MarketWatch)